The NHL’s regular season is winding down and many fanbases will be looking forward to some playoff hockey, but unfortunately for other teams, this means eyes will be set on the NHL draft in July. With the end of the season comes the end of an era as well, Anaheim Ducks’ long-time captain, the face of the franchise, and 2003 first-round pick Ryan Getzlaf will hang up his skates. Although Getzlaf is not the last remaining player from the 2003 draft playing he is one of the historic best players of the draft. What other players were picked in this historically stacked draft class?
Some Of The Many
From the first overall selection to one of the final selections in the 2003 nine-round draft saw many impact players get their names called. Over the past 19 years, the 2003 draft class has been stacking hardware. Winning a combined 21 Stanley Cups and counting. The 2003 draft so many notable names such as Nathan Horton, Thomas Vanek, Ryan Suter, Dion Phaneuf, Dustin Brown, Brent Seabrook, Zach Parise, Brent Burns, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richards, Brian Boyle, Corey Perry, Corey Crawford, David Backes, Jimmy Howard, just to name a few early-round stars. Each one of these players have had storied careers, yet they are still not the top players in the draft class.
Late Round Steals
The later rounds of the 2003 draft saw many impact players find NHL homes. Players such as Joe Pavelski were selected in the seventh round, well Tobias Enstrom and Dustin Byfuglien were drafted in the eighth round. All three of them were selected to at least one All-Star game, although Enstrom did not play in his lone selection due to injury. The ninth round saw goaltenders Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott be selected, both of whom shared the 2011-12 William M. Jennings trophy.
The 2003 draft saw a handful of superstars born as well. Staring with the first overall select Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury has racked up over 900 games throughout his career, won one Vezina Trophy, and three Stanley Cups. Second overall selection Eric Staal was no slouch himself falling just short of 1300 games through his 17-year career while scoring 1034 points and winning one Stanley Cup. 19th overall selection Ryan Getzlaf should finish his career with 1160 games played, at 1150 games played Getzlaf has totaled 1013 points and one Stanley Cup himself.
The second round saw two huge NHL players selected. With the 45th pick, the Boston Bruins selected now captain Patrice Bergeron. Through 18 seasons Bergeron has played 1205 games, totaled 971 points, and won one Stanley Cup and four Selke Trophies. Just four picks after Bergeron was Shea Weber. The four-time All-Star never won a Stanley Cup or any big award but he does have one of the hardest slap shots the NHL has ever seen. Weber played 1038 games while totaling 589 points throughout his career, prior to the 2021-22 season he likely called it a career.
How Do Other Draft Classes Stack Up?
The 2003 NHL could be the best draft the NHL has ever seen, but what other drafts stack up to 2003? The 1984 draft saw four future Hall of Fame players selected including Patrick Roy and Mario Lemieux, but the 2003 draft should also have at least four future Hall of Famers. The 1990 draft saw a couple of hockey greats in Martin Brodeur and Jaromir Jagr, but outside of those two 1990 does not stack up well against 2003. 2005 saw possibly the greatest player ever Sidney Crosby as well as Carey Price and Bobby Ryan just to name a few, yet the star-studded 2003 class still edges them. 1983 likely stacks up the best but they still fall short. The 1983 draft featured players such as Pat LaFontaine, Cam Neely, Dominik Hasek, Vladislav Tretiak, and Steve Yzerman. With all things considered the outlook of the 2003 draft is remarkable and fans may never see a draft as stacked as the 2003 draft.
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